Daughter proves an asset at Brown stop in Manchester
MANCHESTER - Scott Brown's latest venture toward a potential return to the U.S. Senate took him to one of New Hampshire's most frequent campaign stops, where he was happy to be overshadowed briefly by his daughter.
Ayla Brown is a singer who already has a following in New Hampshire, something her father is trying to build after announcing last week the formation of an exploratory committee and meet-and-greet tour through the Granite State.
That tour included breakfast Saturday at the Red Arrow Diner, where an employee had told a reporter last week she was more interested finding out what's new with Ayla's career than with that of her father - the man elected in 2010 to succeed the late Ted Kennedy representing Massachusetts in the Senate.
Elaine Boule's lighthearted remark led to one of the more unusual political stops at the old diner on Lowell Street, where photos of politicians and celebrities line the walls. Brown, his wife, Gail Huff, and Ayla sat at the counter for some breakfast, introductions and a few laughs on Saturday.
"It's your fault, Elaine," Scott Brown joked through a crowd of photographers and a few reporters in the narrow confines near the entrance.
Boule still remembers Ayla from when she was a teenager competing on "American Idol" in 2006, reaching the final group of 16. She has come a long way since, making her Grand Ol' Opry debut last May."I was honored," Ayla said. "It was really fun meeting her and knowing that she was a fan of my music and of me back on the show."
Ayla gave Boule a copy of her latest CD and posed for photos. Scott Brown, who chatted with a few diners, shook some hands and also posed for cellphone pictures, gave Boule a copy of his book, a biography titled "Against All Odds."
"She brought me her CD and he brought me a book and said, 'Read the book and maybe that will help sway you a little bit,'" Boule said.
Boule said she planned to read it, then would consider her views on the upcoming Senate race.
Meanwhile, the Browns headed off for another scheduled stop Saturday. A year ago, he said, he wouldn't have really considered another run for the Senate so soon after his loss to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in the 2012 election.
"I've stepped back and had an opportunity to really see what's going on and how dysfunctional Washington is and how they're not doing the people's business. They're just ramming stuff through and they're not talking and they're completely disregarding everyday people's concerns," he said.
"Everything that's happening is just crushing the middle class and crushing businesses. You need to get involved; stop complaining and get involved. That's what Gail told me."
Brown's only official involvement is the formation of the committee, which was welcomed by New Hampshire Republicans hoping he would run and possibly unseat Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in November.
He has yet to declare whether he'll enter the race, and he would need to get through the GOP primary. Brown recently moved from Massachusetts to his former vacation home in Rye, establishing residency in New Hampshire.
On Saturday, Brown said he was happy to have one of his daughters along as the family recalled her time in the spotlight eight years ago, when Ayla was wowing viewers nationwide and her father was a member of the Massachusetts Senate.
Boule also remembered 2006 and remains disappointed with the "Idol'' outcome.
"She should have won," Boule said.